MORRISON, William Ralls

MORRISON, William Ralls
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object


MORRISON, William Ralls, a Representative from Illinois; born on a farm at Prairie du Long, near the present town of Waterloo, Monroe County, Ill., September 14, 1824; attended the common schools and McKendree College, Lebanon, Ill.; served in the war with Mexico; went to California with the gold seekers in 1849, but returned to Illinois in 1851; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Waterloo, Ill.; clerk of the circuit court of Monroe County, Ill., 1852-1854; member of the State house of representatives 1854-1860, 1870, and 1871, and served as speaker in 1859 and 1860; organized and was colonel of the Forty-ninth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War; while in command of his regiment in the field was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1865); unsuccessful candidate in 1864 for reelection to the Thirty-ninth Congress and in 1866 for election to the Fortieth Congress; continued the practice of law in Waterloo, Ill.; elected to the Forty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1873-March 3, 1887); chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (Forty-fourth, Forty-eighth, and Forty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Public Lands (Forty-fifth Congress), Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Forty-sixth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1885; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1856, 1868, 1884, and 1888; also a delegate to the Union National Convention at Philadelphia in 1866; appointed in 1887 by President Cleveland a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission; reappointed by President Harrison on January 5, 1892, and served from March 22, 1887, to December 31, 1897; was chairman of the commission from March 19, 1892, to the end of his term; resumed the practice of law in Waterloo, Monroe County, Ill., and died there September 29, 1909; interment in Waterloo Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Springfield, IL
Papers: 1855-1909. 6 inches. Letters and newspaper clippings documenting his public career, especially his congressional terms and membership on the Interstate Commerce Commission. Topics include tariff reform, bimetallism, 1885 Senate election, and 1896 presidential campaign. Finding aid in repository.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: April 2, 1884. 1 letter. Finding aid in repository.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Morrison, William Ralls. A moderate, simple tariff for revenue only. Washington: N.p., 1876.

------. Speech delivered by Col. W. R. Morrison, at Edwardsville, Madison County, Ill., October 13, 1863. St. Louis: G. Knapp & Co., printers, 1863.

------. The tariff. Washington: [Government Printing Office], 1884.

------. The tariff. Speech of Hon. William R. Morrison, of Illinois, in the House of Representatives, Tuesday, April 15, 1884. Washington: [Government Printing Office], 1884.

Robbins, David E. "The Congressional Career of William Ralls Morrison." Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1963.

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Committee Assignments

  • House Committee - Ways and Means - Chair
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